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2 Big Developments in Virginia's Political Mess

Report says governor won't resign; 2nd woman comes forward against lieutenant governor
By Newser Editors,  Newser Staff
Posted Feb 8, 2019 3:50 PM CST
In this Jan. 12, 2018, file photo, Virginia Gov.-elect, Lt. Gov Ralph Northam, center, walks down the reviewing stand with Lt. Gov-elect, Justin Fairfax, right, and Attorney General Mark Herring at the...   (AP Photo/Steve Helber, File)

(Newser) – After a relatively quiet day on the Virginia scandal front, two potentially big developments emerged Friday afternoon:

  • The governor: Gov. Ralph Northam told his Cabinet that he will not resign over the controversy involving a blackface photo in his medical school yearbook, reports the AP. Northam has made no official announcement, and his decision to remain in office would fly in the face of calls from prominent members of his own party for him to step down. The AP story quotes an anonymous official in his administration.
  • Lieutenant governor: The Washington Post reports that a second woman has come forward to accuse Lt. Gov. Justin Fairfax of sexual assault. Meredith Watson said Fairfax raped her in 2000 when they were students at Duke. Watson wants Fairfax to resign. "She has no interest in becoming a media personality or reliving the trauma that has greatly affected her life," says Watson's attorney. "Similarly, she is not seeking any financial damages.” (Details on the first set of allegations against him are here. Fairfax denies them.)
If both Northam and Fairfax were to resign, the next in line to become governor is Attorney General Mark Herring, but he has a blackface scandal of his own. (Read more Virginia stories.)

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